Since 2011, we have distributed over £400,000 in direct community benefit funds to the local region, and provide our rooftop host sites with an estimated £30,000 a year in energy bill savings.

Bristol Energy Cooperative is committed to directing revenue from our energy generation into community action supporting others


£30k a year energy bill savings for community buildings with our panels


Grants directed to over 50 community groups via the Megawatt Community Energy Fund – our partnering arrangement with Low Carbon Gordano


Since 2011, we have distributed over £350,000 in direct community benefit funds to the local region, as well as £40,000 a year savings to our rooftop host sites.

Bristol Energy Cooperative is committed to directing revenue from our energy generation into community action supporting others


£40k a year energy bill savings for community centres with our panels


Funds directed to over 50 community groups via the Megawatt Community Energy Fund – our partnering arrangement with Ambition Lawrence Weston

1. Local Partners - Ambition Lawrence Weston

Income from our Lawrence Weston Solar Farm is being shared with the local community through Ambition Lawrence Weston (ALW), a resident-driven organisation striving to make Lawrence Weston an even better place to live and work. When Bristol Energy Cooperative was raising funds to build the solar farm in 2016 it took out a “blended loan” from Social and Sustainable Capital. As part of this loan arrangement ALW received a £155,000 grant from Power to Change. ALW described this funding as transformational. It enabled it to apply for and win additional funding for housing and a new community and health hub in the local area.

We continue to contribute revenue from the solar farm to ALW each year. ALW has used these funds to run intern-led projects on fuel poverty, co-ordinating energy surveys for residents, and supporting them to switch energy supplier. It also employed an energy consultant to lead on a local community-owned wind project. This received widespread community support and led ALW to set up Ambition Community Energy (ACE) CIC. In August 2020 Bristol City Council granted ACE CIC planning permission for a single wind turbine in Avonmouth with a tip height of up to 150m. Once constructed this will be the tallest onshore wind turbine in England.

2. Megawatt Community Energy Fund

We set up the Megawatt Community Energy Fund in 2017 as a way to help local groups find funding for carbon-reduction/environmental projects in their local community. The Fund is administered by Quartet Community Foundation and grants of up to £5,000 are typically available.  ​In 2019 our neighbouring community energy coop Low Carbon Gordano joined us in contributing revenues into the Fund. Members of both organisations participate in choosing which applicants receive grant support.

In the wake of the energy and cost of living crises, the Megawatt Community Energy Fund continues to provide vital support for communities. The total amount awarded in 2023 was £37,525. 

Bristol Food Producers Network Limited 

For the refurbishment and upgrade of a cargo electric trike to be used for the delivery of vegetables from a Hengrove-based community market garden to food banks and members of a local community veg bag scheme.

CHEESE Project – Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts

To provide 10 free thermal imaging surveys for householders identified as living in fuel poverty and to subsequently assist them with applying for remedial work in their homes.

Eastside Community Trust 

Toward replacing the lighting in Easton Community Centre with energy-efficient LED fittings to reduce the centre’s carbon emissions, save money and demonstrate best practices for visitors and building tenants.

Eco-Centre CBS Limited 

For an innovative outreach project helping people in Bridgewater save carbon and live more sustainably by helping individuals and communities to draw up tailored action plans and collective schemes.

Friends of Jubilee Pool 

For a feasibility study for solar panels (PV) and a solar thermal system, and project planning for the replacement of the air handling unit (AHU) at the community-owned swimming pool.

Heart of BS13 

For training for the Heart of BS13 e-cargo bike rider team to learn mechanical maintenance and servicing skills in support of the group’s mobile fresh food shop and green-waste collection and composting services that operate in Hartcliffe and Withywood.

Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust 

For a gardener to deliver a programme of community food and nature growing sessions including weekly open sessions that will focus on permaculture gardening with no dig to avoid releasing trapped carbon and sessions that will involve conversations about the Lockleaze climate action plan.

Trinity Community Arts Ltd 

To develop the current garden programme which consists of Forest School Activities and Nature Play Activities to teach children and parents Green Skills and other practical skills, while also teaching them about climate change and sustainable living.

Wellspring Settlement 

Toward the installation of energy-efficient lighting in the Wellspring Settlement building that provides important community services in the Lawrence Hill area.

Yatton Village Hall Management Committee

For the replacement of fluorescent lighting battens with LED equivalent units, to reduce the hall’s carbon emissions and save on energy costs.

In the midst of an energy crisis and rising cost of living, the Megawatt Community Energy Fund is as important as ever. Together with Low Carbon Gordano, we distributed £42,000 in grants to fantastic local green initiatives.

 All-Aboard Watersports
Toward replacing one of the group’s petrol outboard engines with an electric engine outboard that runs on a rechargeable battery, which will serve as a pilot for the replacement of all the group’s petrol outboard engines.

Badgworth Schoolroom Management Committee
Toward the installation of solar panels and a battery to store solar energy at this community centre.

Berrow Community Association Limited
To install solar panels on the roof of the Village Hall as well as a storage battery.

Empowering Futures –Toward developing a programme of activities that will educate children with disabilities about the effects of global warming, involving tree planting, gardening, cooking and forestry activities.

Knowle West Media Centre
To engage carbon consultants to assess how best to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the running of the group’s building, and to provide a recommendation for future action.

Life Cycle UK
To purchase bike tools and equipment for the Bike Recycling Project, which fixes old, broken bikes and returns them to the community at affordable prices or for free.

Portishead Primary
To replace existing classroom lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting as part of a phased 4-year project to replace the lighting throughout the school.

To offer open access training and advice for people living in fuel poverty, helping people to make their homes more energy efficient and cheaper to heat.

Southmead Development Trust
Toward upgrading the Greenway Centre’s main hall lighting to energy-efficient LED lighting.

Tickenham Village Hall Management Committee
Toward the installation of a significantly more efficient LED lighting system, reducing the energy consumption of Tickenham Village Hall.

Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh
For the cost of additional design and planning work to answer questions raised by the Environment Agency in relation to a planned micro-hydro energy plant at the mill.

Windmill Hill City Farm
To install LED lighting, efficient hand dryers and low flow taps at Hartcliffe City Farm, reducing fossil fuel consumption as the farm works toward becoming Carbon Zero.

Zero Carbon North Somerset
Toward the cost of a website, holding meetings and events, and creating support information to help develop the profile, capacity and reach of the group which promotes knowledge and understanding of climate change in North Somerset.

Heart of BS13
To undertake a feasibility study to devise a ‘closed loop’ composting system for BS13 to make green and food waste from local households into organic compost.

Bristol Disability Equality Forum
A contribution toward the cost of additional work that expands on the group’s existing work creating a climate action plan for the disabled community in Bristol.

Bristol Green Capital Partnership
Toward the cost of producing a radio show and community workshop which form part of the Black and Green Ambassadors project, which seeks to connect, empower and celebrate diverse leadership and community action on environmental issues in Bristol and beyond.

Weston super Mare & District Chamber Of Commerce
To provide a set of ‘curry and conversation’ events that will focus on raising awareness and understanding of climate change and improving carbon literacy to measure and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

APE Project CIC
For a Permaculture Worker to support the ‘Food for Thought’ sustainable food growing project working with children at St Pauls Adventure Playground.

Long Ashton Growers Community Cooperative
Toward the cost of installing a fruit cage enclosure so the group can maximise their fruit crop, in turn reducing the purchase by members of fruit from retailers that have a high carbon footprint.

Long Ashton Nature, Community & Environment Trust (LANCET)
To create a community wildflower meadow on former arable land leased from Bristol University’s Fenswood Farm, Long Ashton, to capture carbon, increase biodiversity and improve soil health.

Meadow Vale Community Association
A contribution toward the cost of installing solar panels on an extension to the existing community centre.

Community Trees Wick 
Toward planting fruit trees in Brockwell Park Community Orchard to provide a source of local produce and increase carbon sequestration.

Clevedon YMCA               
To replace strip lighting in the sports hall with easier to maintain and more energy efficient lighting as part of an overall plan for this youth service provider to become more energy efficient.

Congresbury Scouts and Guides                 
Toward replacing entrance doors for the scout hut to improve its thermal efficiency as part of a wider project of reducing the carbon footprint of the scout hut.

Pretoria Road Allotment Society              
For the installation of water harvesting units to reduce the use of mains fed water to the site and reduce the sites carbon footprint.

Ujima Radio       
Toward the production of eight Megawatt Takeover shows as part of the Green & Black Project that aim to create awareness of climate change its solutions and how to reduce its impact, targeting individuals underrepresented in the green sector, particularly Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Life Cycle UK      
To install cycle stands for free for community organisations/enterprises in Bristol with the aim of encouraging people to travel by bicycle.

St Werburghs Community Association   
For the replacement of the main entrance lobby lighting with LED fittings to help reduce the carbon footprint and improve the sustainability of this well used community centre.

Friends of Hannah More Primary School               
Toward ‘Gardening for Good’, a family project that seeks to improve the local environment and involve local people in growing produce in the centre of Bristol.

The Haven          
To offer conversation sessions and practical activities for vulnerable groups focusing on mitigating the effects of climate change, tackling climate change anxiety and building resilient communities.

North Somerset Enterprise Agency          
Toward the development of a series of talks to raise awareness of business impact on climate and guide North Somerset small business owners in making more ethical and sustainable choices.

Groundwork South Trust
For a set of environmental awareness sessions and sustainability sessions for the benefit of Lockleaze families that will encourage families to become more environmentally aware, reduce their fuel consumption, reduce food waste, eat more locally produced food and travel more sustainably.

Somerset Film and Video Ltd
To install double glazing in the shop front windows of the group’s studio and workshop spaces which will serve to reduce the running costs of this community media centre and help to make the charity more sustainable.

A Place of Possibility
Toward the cost of replacing a gas boiler in the nursery annex of Easton Community Centre with an electric boiler connected to on-site renewable energy sources.

Southmead Development Trust
To reestablish walking groups in the Southmead area and produce a walking map that will contain information about energy saving and climate change issues.

This second round was held in 2019 in partnership with neighbouring community energy cooperative Low Carbon Gordano. Bristol Energy Cooperative contributed £25,000 to this round, and 30 applications were received. Members of Bristol Energy Cooperative and Low Carbon Gordano were asked to vote for their top applications in an online poll, and the final 14 successful applications were selected by a panel of representatives of both organisations.

APE Project CIC
Toward the set-up of weekly environmental awareness sessions at the playground with a focus on improving air quality and increasing bio diversity in the local area.

Bedminster Energy Group
Toward a community asset mapping and engagement project, with the aim of improving the way the group focuses its efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption in an inclusive way.

Bristol Community Land Trust
Toward one of two ground source heat pumps that will serve a new build Community Learning and Enterprise Centre in Lockleaze Bristol.

Clevedon Community Association
Toward the cost of replacing the boiler at this well used community centre with an energy efficient model that will help reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Congresbury Scouts and Guides
For the purchase and installation of a learning thermostat to replace the group’s existing rotary thermostat and boiler programmer, that will help the group reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Crockerne Primary School
Toward the cost of installing new LED lighting fittings and bulbs at the school to help the school reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Incredible Edible
For the planting of fruit trees at community garden sites across the region, to be planted as part of an increasing urban city wide orchard, with the aim of raising awareness of climate change and reducing fossil fuel consumption by increasing local food production.

Life Cycle UK
For the cost of additional workshop equipment and parts to increase the capacity of the the Bristol Bike Back project, which provided accredited mechanical training for prisoners at HMP Bristol and sells refurbished bicycles to local people, encouraging the increased use of of low carbon transport.

Lockleaze Community Orchard
Toward the cost of installing rain water capture and storage system on a community orchard site in Lockleaze, with the aim of reducing fossil fuel consumption by reducing the distance food is transported.

Nailsea School
Toward the cost of replacing fluorescent tube light fittings with energy efficient LED ceiling panels that will help the school to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Sea Mills Community Initiatives
Toward the cost of providing food growing after school club sessions, materials and equipment to set-up a permaculture focused forage garden trail and hot composting at the community garden site that will serve the local community cafe, with the aim of raising awareness of ways to reduce the impact of climate change and helping reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The ReUsery
Toward the cost of a pilot set of open access sessions to teach and promote re-use skills, especially sewing and upcycling, with the aim of reducing energy demands and fostering a culture of self-help and re-use

Ujima Radio
Toward the production of a set of a monthly radio shows exclusively devoted to environmental issues as they impact on Black and Minority Ethnic populations, that aim to raise awareness of climate change, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and reduce fuel poverty.

Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh
Toward the cost of a feasibility study for installing a mini hydro scheme at the mill, with the aim of raising awareness of ways to reduce the impact of climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The first round of Bristol Energy Cooperative’s Megawatt Community Energy Fund closed in September 2017. It received over 30 applications, with up to £50,000 available. The successful projects were selected by a member vote and panel:

Buzz Lockleaze
To deliver a series of 4 energy awareness feasts that will promote and facilitate community action in relation to energy issues in the Lockleaze area.

The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project (Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts) 
Toward staffing costs to support the continuation and expansion of the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project, providing heat surveys which enable local residents to reduce domestic heat loss to achieve warmer homes and a cooler planet. 

Redcatch Community Garden
Toward the cost of a poly-tunnel, volunteer costs and overheads for this community garden which grows and sells food locally, and promotes healthy and sustainable eating in the Knowle area.

​Awaz Utaoh
To work in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy to provide Energy Awareness Days for older women from the South Asian community and provide translations of energy efficiency information that can be shared with other community groups.

​Hartcliffe Health & Environment Action Group
Toward the cost of the Re-create workshops, working in the Hartcliffe area to provide a series of community art and crafts sessions focusing on re-purposing waste or second-hand materials. The sessions will help introduce people to small creative steps they can make to have a positive environmental impact in their home and local community.

Toward the cost of continuing the re:draught scheme, providing heat surveys for 10 households and energy efficiency advice to a separate 50 households in the Knowle West area.

Southville Community Development Association             
To install solar panels at the the Chessel Community Centre, based in Southville.

APE Project CIC
For the annual cost of an apprentice, to support the Children’s Bike Exchange (CBE) in St Paul’s Adventure Playground. The CBE fixes and safety checks unwanted children’s bikes which can then be swapped for free or at a very low cost for outgrown or damaged kids bikes in the community

Bristol Community Land Trust
Toward the cost of support from Bioregional’s BEPIT team to enhance the monitoring, training and learning from Bristol Community Land Trust’s affordable low carbon community housing project in Lockleaze.

South Gloucestershire Citizens Advice Bureau
To provide specialist energy information and advice to vulnerable people in South Gloucestershire, and a range of interventions aimed at reducing energy use and fuel poverty.

Read our 2022 blog on the Megawatt fund recipients.


Through Empowering Futures, one of the recipients of the Megawatt fund, Lizzie found community and a new connection with nature.


3. Bristol Sustainable Energy Research Fund

Working with Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy, we offer small bursaries for research on sustainable energy and climate change in the West of England.

In 2020 funding was awarded to Dr Emilia Melville and Jack Nicholls. Their research will investigate possible forms of democratic participation in Bristol City Council’s City Leap project.

In 2018 two projects were awarded funding:

Dr Jake Barnes – Energy Publics: mapping public participation in Bristol’s energy transition
Dr Elaine Forde – Fuel Stories: a community energy engagement model

More information about the projects can be found at:

4. International Charity Donations

Climate change is a truly international issue, with some of the worst effects falling on people who are least responsible for causing it.

In 2018 we made ​a donation of £2,500 to Solar Aid.

In 2019 we made a donation of £2,000 to Aid Box Community in recognition of work they do supporting refugees and migrants who settle in Bristol.

Community Benefits Map

Map of BEC's community benefits

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